A No-Ring Circus
Tonight, Lebron James will make his free-agency announcement live on national TV, a move some pundits call brilliant. I fall on the other side of that fence. This grandstanding perpetrated by James and endorsed by the evil four-letter network, ESPN, is nothing more than a circus… a no-ring circus.
While the event may draw big numbers, it adds an even heavier load of expectations on Lebron’s already weighted shoulders. The only thing of yet The Akron Hammer (moniker expiring soon) has hoisted is ill-advised three-pointers, no championship hardware.
In addition, it cheapens a league whose commissioner tries to mask it as one of class. This move is the pro league equivalent of Star Magazine journalism: It’s 2 lines of news crammed into three pages of fluff.
King James is in danger of being known for his off-court exploits as much as those take place within the 4,700 square feet of the NBA hardwood. This is the same guy who stormed off the court after his losing effort two years ago and the same guy who blamed his teammates for this last post-season early exit. Now he’s scheduled an event on national TV? You’ve already had that national event… it’s called the NBA post season! Lebron: If you want to make a statement, make it June, and on the court.
This move tells me much about Lebron. It tells me he is a fame whore as much as he is a basketball player. Think back to Kobe’s press post-game pressers during The Finals. He was to the point, terse and curt. He let his play speak more loudly than any sort of grandiose peacocking while in front of a mic.
During this week of free-agency spawned hoopla, Kevin Durant, the league’s actual scoring champion, quietly signed a 5-year extension. It was so quiet it barely made a twitter… That’s how he let the world know, in a 140-characters. No press conference, no interviews, and best of all, no weeks-worth of hype leading up to the decision.
The best thing about Lebron’s press conference? The drama of this defacto “results show” ala American Idol is gone. The results have leaked, taking the heat out of the announcement, and placing Lebron directly in it, both literally figuratively.
By signing with The Miami Heat, Lebron will openly admit that he cannot carry a team to a championship on his own. He needs the likes of two other top-ten scorers to get him to the promise land. The same can be said of Dwyane Wade. He may already have a ring, but his was as much a result of his play as it was of the stripe-clad NBA employees. Not to mention, it looks as if his mamma can’t spell… Dwyane. I think the rule is “y” before “a” except after “w.” Whatever.
So, as far as I’m concerned, the big-dog free agent can bark as loudly as he wants. Thus far, the only thing he has bitten is more than he can chew.